What Not to Do Wednesday on Having Myself to Blame

So, last week, I received an acceptance (wheee!) and a rejection (boo!hiss!). But if I’m being perfectly honest, I wasn’t surprised by that boo!hiss! rejection. I have only myself to blame. It was a boo!hiss! story.

Now, don’t try to make me feel better, grasshopper. It was not a good story. Oh, it was written well. It had a nice flow, good pacing, a swell plot, crackling dialogue. But it was missing something…

I sent it anyway, even though I had this mushy feeling of wrongness about the story. Until finally, after working on another manuscript, and receiving that acceptance, I had one of those epiphany moments. (Thank goodness, right?)

The boo!hiss! story didn’t have me in it. I don’t mean me, literally. I mean the connection between something that I felt to what a character is feeling. So the story, though well-executed, lay there flat and limp and blah.

Don’t write without getting to the heart of the matter, grasshopper. You may be penning a story about a little girl flying on a pig to a country known as Styheaven where all the inhabitants are flying pigs who speak only pig latin and stuff humans into sausage casings. Obviously, you haven’t had that experience. But you have probably, at some time in your life, been the “fish out of water” who was scared to death. Tap into your feelings to give your story life. It’s that whole Dr. Frankenstein thing, to use a literary allusion.

I always tell people that if they’ve ever met me, they’ll probably show up in a story, cleverly disguised, of course. But the truth is, I’m in every single story I write. At least, the stories that get published (whee!).

12 thoughts on “What Not to Do Wednesday on Having Myself to Blame

  1. I know the feeling, Cathy. Not the being stuffed into a sausage casing part(unless you count some of my old/thin clothes) but the knowing the story is missing "something" part. I think you're right about what's missing – the writer's connection to some aspect of the story and/or characters. I'll definitely keep that in mind. 🙂

  2. I'm thinking there's an awful lot I can emotionally connect with in that pig story (including the sausage casings). Maybe I'll write that one.You're going gangbusters on that Write One, Sub One. Yay,you and your writing!

  3. Hi Cathy,Congratulations on your acceptance. On the flip side, I understand the pain of rejection.Rejections sting, but they make me more determined to revise, fix, and submit again to find homes for my babies.Donna

  4. Thanks, Donna!A sweet acceptance can make the bitterness of a rejection better!But I don't mind rejections much…I know people have different tastes and I just keep looking.On the other hand, sometimes a story (like my boo!hiss! one) is not going to appeal to anyone's taste! 🙂

  5. Patience, little grasshopper. All will be revealed soon (around the first week or two of March, or so said the editor.)Oh, and patience on those rejections, too. Your turn will come. 🙂

  6. Do you always have to be so right? Is it tiresome? LOLCongrats on the acceptance, and on the boo-hiss because you'll fix that and turn the "no" into a "yes." A Cathy Hall rejection is just a story that hasn't found its proper home yet. 🙂

  7. Cath — your comments about the rejection notice are so smart and true that I think they would make a terrific article which would most definitely be accepted. Congratulations on the acceptance. Where will it be — I wanna read it.

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